"She sat back beaming. 'You are wise in the ways of real love, Mackenzie. So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. Love is just the skin to knowing."
From "The Shack"
by William P. Young
I just finished reading an incredible book...a book that could be life-changing for those who don't already have a relationship with Christ. Even those who do will never look at God...and the vision of the Trinity the same way. The author brought to life a concept that scholars have tried...and failed...to explain for centuries.
I love to read, and while much of what I read is mindless fiction, there are occasionally nuggets buried in the writing that I stumble across. The quote above is one of those that touched me in a very profound way. I noted it in my mind when I first read it, wanting to make sure I remembered it. I continued in my reading for several chapters and was then drawn back to it. It had spoken to me, but I didn't quite get it yet. I hadn't marked the page, so it took several moments before I was able to find it. Once again, I slowly read the words over and over, knowing that there was a message in there for me, but my conscious mind wasn't grasping it.
I finished reading the book this afternoon, and I was once again drawn back to this paragraph. Was God trying to communicate with me? Was there a lesson here he was trying to teach me? Try as I might, it still seemed like there was something just out of my reach, like the rings at the Carousel that were just inches away from my fingers as a child, but that I never captured.
After grappling with the passage for several minutes, I put the book away and went to the computer to check my e-mail. There was only one new message today...it was from my sister and I sat there and read her words, this fog that had been blurring this passage finally lifted and I found clarity in the words.
I've always loved Debbie...she's my only sister and there have been times in my life that we have been very close. And there have been seasons in my life where there has been a chasm that seemed to separate us. Neither of us created the distance, but we would both admit that it was there.
A lot has happened in my life in the past year...actually the past four years. Next week, I will celebrate a year of freedom from the razor wire and fences that enclosed me for almost three years. During that time, I have read with regularity my sister's writing. And through that, a miracle has occurred that I never would have anticipated...and I doubt that she would have either. I have come to know my sister. I may be the only one in my family who does...and I relish that gift! Her willingness to become transparent and share her fears and anxieties...her dreams and desires...her past and her present have allowed me to know her in ways I could never have dreamed, and in the process caused me to love her in a deeper way that I ever had before.
As I reflected on that realization, I understood for the first time in my life a reason that it has been so hard for me to truly love...and to understand love. I had never really sought to get to truly KNOW the people that I claimed to love! I never took the time to get to know my mom or dad...to know who they were and why they were who they were. There were opportunities, but they are now lost forever. I'll never be able to love them the way I could have because my pride, or fear, kept me from asking the questions or listening to the answers.
I had the most incredible woman for a wife and loved her to the extent that I was capable of at the time. I realize that I love her more now than I did while we were married because I have come to really know her more in the past four years than I did during the entire eighteen years of our marriage. I've asked and she's shared. And at times, she's simply shared and I've listened. At other times, she's simply loved and revealed a character of grace and love that isn't seen in many people.
And God...well He's another story! Until I took the time to get to know Him...to spend time with Him, I didn't really love Him. I said I did, but in reality, it was only words without meaning. I had no clue who He was! I had never talked with Him...I had talked at Him a few times and rarely had I ever listened for His voice. Today, I can honestly say that I love God with all of my heart, and I grow to love Him more and more each day! The reason is that I get to know Him better each day. And while He already knows all there is to know about me, I think His love for me grows stronger each day because I allow Him to get to know me better each day.
I can't really express the excitement that I have about learning how to love! It is changing the way that I live. I'm trying to make for room in this "skin"...providing for new opportunities to others to love me...and for me to fill the "skin" of others.